A jury today acquitted Will Lynch, 44, of San Francisco of felony charges that he beat up the Rev. Jerold Lindner, whom he says brutally raped him as a child. The San Jose jury found Lynch not guilty of felony elder abuse and felony assault in connection with the incident two years ago a South Bay church retirement home, but deadlocked 8 to 4 in favor of convicting him for misdemeanor assault.
No word yet on whether prosecutors will seek to retry him on the latter charge.
It was a clear victory for Lynch and the verdict was cheered by survivors of priestly sex abuse and others who packed the Santa Clara County courtroom. From Tracey Kaplan’s piece posted at the Mercury News:
The verdict was a triumph for Lynch, now 44, and his supporters, who faithfully picketed outside and packed the Santa Clara County courtroom as the assault trial -- normally a brief event -- stretched over three weeks. From accusations of prosecutorial misconduct to a confrontation in the hallway between the priest and one of his alleged molestation victims, the trial was roiled by disruptions.
"I was wrong for doing what I did -- in doing that I perpetuated the cycle of violence," Lynch said outside the courtroom, referring to the two blows to the head he delivered to Lindner at the Sacred Heart retirement home in Los Gatos. "But if there is anything I want people to take away from this -- it is you can come forward, you can seek justice and you can find justice in many forms."